Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Fun Friday - 7 (fun) things you must know about becoming old

You can't fight the aging process, but you can laugh your way through it.

Have you ever realized that the aging process happens over time? One day you’re driving your child to kindergarten, the next you’re driving him to college. As your child is aging, so are you. No need to fret, you can grow old(er) with grace.

The first step in growing old with grace is learning to look at the lighter side of life. Here are 7 things you must know about getting old.

    1.    It takes twice as long to look half as good.
    2.    You finally get your head together, then your body starts falling apart. 
    3.   You and your teeth don’t sleep together.
    4.    You look forward to a dull evening. 
        5.  Your idea of weight lifting is standing up. 
    6.    You come to the conclusion that your worst enemy is gravity.
    7.    Everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work.

You can view the complete list of fun facts on becoming old by clicking here.
Can you relate to any of the above statements? Over half of them are relatable to me. Today my story relates to number two, “…your body starts falling apart.”

I shared with a colleague that my hair seems to be getting thin. She told me about a supplement that she takes that is supposed to be helpful for skin, nails and hair. After talking to another friend, she too was familiar with the supplement and had started taking it.

After a little more research, I decided to try the supplement for myself. I was excited about trying something that would make my nails stronger and help my damaged hair. The other day, when I visited my colleague, I cheerfully pulled the supplement from my purse and said, “I got my supplements, I’m on my way to a new me.”

My colleague casually said, “I meant to tell you that the supplements cause my hair to grow everywhere. I had to shave my arms.”

I screamed at her, “What?”

She didn’t say she had to shave her armpits, she said her arms. I told her, “You mean I might have extra hair everywhere? I just got my mustache under control and my chin hairs.”

It just goes to show that one should always ask about side effects and details surrounding anything you put in or on your body. I may turn into a gorilla by the end of winter, but my hair will be healthy.
My fingernails will be stronger, but so will my toenails. I don’t know how my skin will be affected, but maybe it won’t matter because it will be covered with hair.

What fun facts have you learned about growing old?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Word...less Wednesday - National Chocolate Cake Day

photo credit and recipe

Today is National Chocolate Cake Day, time to celebrate! Did you know there are health benefits to eating chocolate? For starters, chocolate is said to improve your mood…that’s enough for me.

Cakes have an interesting culinary history that dates back to the 1920’s in Greece. Click here to read the article.

photo credit and recipe

photo credit and recipe

Do you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Muffins with Mom – 3 ways to soothe tired feet

Soothing foot relief - from a son to his mother
Just before Christmas my oldest son asked me one day what I wanted as a gift. He had a seasonal job, but I didn’t want him to spend all his money on gifts. After all, I needed him to pay that college tuition. So I told him, “You don’t have to buy me anything, just massage my feet.” 

As I was lying in bed on a cold wintry day, I yelled for my son to massage my feet. My plan was to fall right to sleep after my treat. My room was illuminated by the lamp on the nightstand. When my son entered, he pulled one of my feet from under the cover and began deep tissue circular motions. I was totally relaxed, then he began talking. 

“Ma, your feet are dry, you need to put some Vaseline on them, then some socks. What happened to your feet? It feels like you’ve been walking across cement barefoot and came across a few pebbles.” 

My son finished the massage and quickly left my room. I thought that was the end of the story. It was not. A couple of weeks later my son’s concern for my feet resurfaced. He texted me with a picture of some kind of Healthy Feet relief cream. The caption from him read, “A couple of tubes of this, a miracle and your feet might get back to normal.”

He even came up with a campaign slogan, “Have your feet been through a war…fear no more. Healthy Feet is here to save the day.” I guess this is how my tuition dollars are being used. My son is practicing for the world of business. 

What do you do when your feet are tired and you don’t have a child at home to massage them for you? Below are 3 things you can do for tired feet. 

1.      Soak your feet – a warm bubbly (optional) foot bath can do wonders for tired feet.

2.      Elevate your feet – prop your feet up on something and just let the blood flow in a different direction.

3.      Massage your feet – you can do this yourself or treat yourself to a foot massage spa day. 

What do you do for tired feet? Has your child ever given you a snappy comment about something you asked him to do?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Fun Friday – 4 Things teens don’t tell you

Sometimes being a parent is like portraying a detective. When it comes to teens, you have to dig, prod and pull information out of them. It’s easy for them to communicate when they want something, but when you want further information, they clam up.
Recently, I have discovered four things my teens did not tell me…but I discovered.
1.      I borrowed your car

When my son was home during a school break, he routinely went out for an evening run. Sometimes he would take his brothers car and stop by the store. As he left one evening, he yelled up the stairs to me, “Ma, I’m leaving, I’ll be back in a little while.”

My son was out the door and returned within an hour, and that was the end of the story…until morning. 

My son who towers over me at 6’4”, had borrowed my car. He left evidence. I told my son, “I know you borrowed my car.” 

“How did you know, I didn’t move the seat. I drove squished up,” he said. 

“You changed my radio station,” I told him. 


2.      I may have lost a school book

It would have been nice to hear my son mutter those words above. However, it didn’t happen that way. It was during fall registration as we stood in line waiting to pick up my son’s schedule. Before we could proceed, the volunteer worker handed us a slip of paper that contained the sentence “balance due $80 – lost book fee.” 

I told my son, “I didn’t read that book, nor did I lose it.  Why should I have to pay for it?” My voice elevated an octave. 

3.      My lunch account is low

Telling me that his lunch account at school was low, would have been the easy thing for my son to do. Who wants to do things the easy way? Obviously not my son. Instead he waited for me to receive a note from school stating, “Your child’s lunch account is

4.      I want a pet (that I’ll leave for you to take care of)

Over Christmas break my son mentioned that he wanted a dog. I suggested he wait awhile and think about the responsibility. I didn’t hear any more talk of a dog. A week went by, as I was relaxing with a book, my son phoned me and said, “Ma, we’re picking up my dog.”

The next thing I know, a teen, his dad and a dog arrived in my living room. The seven week old puppy was like having a newborn baby. She’s pooping and peeing everywhere and my son has gone back to school. He’s lucky his little pal is growing on me.

A new addition to the family

I have learned to ask probing questions where my teens are concerned. Have you ever had to pull information from your child?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Words of Wisdom - National Hugging Day

National Hugging Day is celebrated on January 21st. This day, dedicated to hugging, was first celebrated in 1986 in Clio, Michigan. It's creator, Kevin Zaborney created this day to encourage hugging family and friends more often.

How can you participate in National Hugging Day? Give away a hug. Just a word of caution, if you're hugging someone who is not a  close friend or family member, be sure they are receptive to the hug. I learned this from experience. Read about my experience from a past blog post (below video).

YouTube Video Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios
An accidental Hug – Tips on what not to do when initiating a hug
How can you accidentally hug someone? I managed to do it with ease. It happened on a sunny day on the sideline at my son’s football practice.
Practice had not stared yet, the coach was sitting with a few people. He leaned forward as he said, “Hi Mrs. Verges.”  It wasn’t a sexy deep voiced, “Hiii… Mrs. Verges.” Nor did it give the implication of “Hellooooo Mrs. Verges.”
It was the “lean in” that threw me off. It looked like the coach was preparing to stand to give a church hug. You know, the hug where you lean forward to embrace, but barely touch the person?
I leaned in, gave the hug then realized, he was not trying to give a hug. Can you say awkward? I walked away as fast as I could without stumbling over the unlevel pathway.
When I told my son about the incident he said, “Why did you hug him?” After he erupted with laughter he said, “Wow, really ma?”
What can I say? I had crossed the line of hugging etiquette.
I checked Google for articles about hugging just to see what was out there. I came across an article titled, How to hug. The information that caught my attention was the warning tips below:
  • “Unless you’ve hugged the person before, don’t hug them without asking first. Use your best judgment in choosing when and where to hug someone.”
  • “Hug only when the person you want to hug has their arms out. They may not want to be hugged if their arms aren’t out.” This is where you place the palm of you hand over your forehead and tap gently several times. The aah ha moment.
  • “Avoid a hug with a running start unless the person being hugged is aware you are about to do so, if not this may result in both of you falling over.”
To read the entire article on how to hug tips visit www.wikihow.com/hug.
I felt a little better about hugging when a woman accidently hugged me. I smiled and greeted the woman as she entered the center where I work. She thought she knew me until she released the embrace. She said, “I’m sorry I thought we’d met before.”
I reassured her that it was ok. I said, “I’m a hugger too.”
What I’ve learned about hugging is that if you’re unsure whether to do it or not, keep your hands to yourself. Stick to smiling and waiving, it’s the safe route.
Are you a hugger? What has been your experience with hugging?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Muffins with Mom – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

“I have a dream…”This is only a phrase from the speech made famous by civil right activist Martin Luther King Jr. Today is the day recognized as a National Holiday in honor of the slain leader. Many schools and businesses held events locally. Schools are closed today, but held celebratory events last week.
It was a snowy Friday afternoon as I strolled into a local elementary school with parents and other community leaders. I was there to see a few of my former after school program kids perform in their Martin Luther King Jr. program. We waved frantically as we spotted each other across the room.
I spoke to the kids parents then took a seat along the chair lined gymnasium. Several minutes passed before the audience was asked to stand, place our right hand over our chest and belt out The Star Spangled Banner. Had I known I would be asked to sing, I would have at least practiced some type of scale – “la, la, la, la la, la, la, la, laaa; do re me fa so la te do.”
While I fretted over my singing abilities, the first group of kids swarmed the stage. At center stage was my buddy, AJ. He only recited four words, but they were powerful, dramatic and packed a punch. AJ returned to the row of kids on risers behind him. They sang a song then left the stage. When I looked around AJ’s mom had a smile from ear to ear. It was a proud moment.
There were more songs, more reciting’s and more proud moments for parents. This Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration was an opportunity for kids to learn about history and to be a part of history at their school. It all began with a dream.
I have a dream…do you? What proud moments have you experienced with your child or children you have worked with?


Friday, January 15, 2016

Fun Friday – Church Chronicles – A tired teen

When kids fall asleep anywhere
It was a typical morning at my home on the first Sunday of the year. I made breakfast then rushed around getting ready for church as my teen boys slept peacefully. After a short time I yelled my warning into each boys’ room, “I’m leaving in 20 minutes, you need to be ready if you’re going with me.”

One teen began to move, the other just pulled the covers tighter. I gave a final call announcing my departure. I left alone. Both boys are licensed drivers, they rode together and arrived at church shortly after I got there. They usually sit as far as they can at the back of the sanctuary.

On this particular Sunday parishioners were packed in shoulder to shoulder. The boys made their way up the aisle to where I was seated. They scooted past several sets of knees, then nearly sat on each other’s lap in an attempt to squeeze next to me. The older teen conceded and settled in on the other side of me.

It wasn’t long before there were signs that the teen had stayed up late. My younger teen had his eyes closed and his head bowed, but it wasn’t prayer time. When he lifted his head, he looked at me bleary eyed and said, “Ooh, I’m struggling to stay awake.”

I whispered to him, “No, you’ve lost the struggle.”

My son kept his eyes open a while longer, then his head dropped again. This time I nudged his brother, who was seated on the other side of me. I said, “Should we wake him up?” His face broke into a grin and he shook his head, “No.”

I decided to respond the way my kids respond to me…ask for advice and then do the opposite. I gave my sons foot a little kick and he lifted his head and said, “Did I fall asleep?”

“Yeah, you did,” I told him. “Next time, when you lift your head, just say, ‘Amen’. Maybe that way everyone won’t know you were sleeping.”

Later, my son later reminisced about when he was younger and used to fall asleep on my shoulder or my lap. In my best sing song voice I told him, “You’re a big boy now, you have to stay awake in church.”

What happened the last time your child fell asleep in a public place?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - National Popcorn Day

Garrett's Popcorn famous in Chicago, but now there's one close to home for me.
Garrett Mix - Caramel Corn and Cheese popcorn
Some people shop for clothes...and then there's me. I like popcorn. National Popcorn Day is celebrated on January 19th. I've started celebrating early.

Do you have a favorite style popcorn? Would any of these be on your list - kettle corn, movie theater butter,  air popped?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Muffins with Mom – The Gingerbread Boys on the loose-sibling rivalry

photo credit and recipe

Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man. You may be familiar with this refrain from the popular children’s story titled The Gingerbread Man. I was reminded of this story the other day after I baked a pan of gingerbread.

Fresh out of the oven, I placed the pan of hot gingerbread in a safe place to cool. My oldest son, ‘D’ loves gingerbread, my other son, ‘J’, is not really a cake/brownie type of eater. So, in my mind the delectable treat was meant for ‘D’ and me.

Perched on my bed with pillows propped behind me and glasses at the edge of my nose, I sat reading a book. After a few minutes, I heard bumping noises, then the sound of a herd of elephants headed in my direction.

Before I could seek shelter, my two boys burst through my bedroom door, arguing over the gingerbread. ‘J’ had the pan of gingerbread in tow as he said, “Ma, who is the gingerbread for?”
I said, “Everybody can have some, but I didn’t think you would want any.” That opening statement was all he needed to antagonize his brother.

“See, I told you, it’s not all just for you,” he said.

“Yeah, but you need to let it cool off,” said D.

Little did I know that Betty Crocker would cause such a ruckus in my house. I told ‘J’, “You’d better run, run as fast as you can, ‘cause you’re still holding the gingerbread pan.”

Both boys ran off with a thud, thud, thump. My gingerbread boys were swift as they ran back to the kitchen, where their problem started. They came to a resolution-they would share the delectable treat. What a novel idea (sarcasm intended). However, the story did not end there.

The next day, as I entered the kitchen, I spotted the pan of gingerbread. It was on the counter, uncovered, open to all elements, getting hard. I wonder if Betty Crocker had kids… and did they let her hard work go to waste?

Do your kids experience sibling rivalry or other challenging situations?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fun Friday – A Youthful task

photo credit
It’s an honor to be asked to take on a leadership role. It means someone has confidence in your abilities…maybe…sometimes. Maybe they think you fit the characteristics of the person needed to carry out a task. And so the story goes.
One Sunday after church, one of our senior citizen members came up to my friend and me with a gleam in her eye and a smile on her face.
“I want to talk to the two of you,” she said. “We need to plan activities/outings for the young women of the church, something fun to get them involved. You two are young, you can relate to them.”
My friend and I looked at each other and tried to stifle a laugh. I spoke first.
“Thanks for thinking of us, but you do know that I’m almost half a century old. Somebody about 20 years younger might be a better fit.” She didn’t realize that I just received ANOTHER invite to become an AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) member.
I do believe the saying, "You're only as old as you feel." I'm feeling pretty good, so I take that mistaken identity of being called young, as a compliment.
Have you had a humorous experience lately?
When your kids talk you into doing something crazy youthful.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bubble Bath Day – A reason to relax

photo credit

Today’s post is in honor of National Bubble Bath Day, which is celebrated on January 8th. You still have time to get your bubble plans in order.
Bubble Bath Day is a great opportunity to cleanse your skin, open your pores and relax your muscles while surrounded by bubbles. Read a book or listen to music as let any tension and stress float away.
My advice is to tune out everything around you relax.  I attempted this the other day, things didn’t go as planned, but I adjusted and made the situation work. Here’s what happened.
I decided a bubble bath would be soothing. I turned on the hot water in the bathtub, distributed a cup of Calgon Chamomile and Honey Epson salt, added bubbles and waited for the water to fill the tub.
After a couple of minutes, I checked the temperature of the water, it was lukewarm at best. I dare to say, it was slightly cold. I immediately stopped the flow of water. There was no way I was dipping a toe in that less than inviting water.
It was long before I discovered the source of my cold bath water. One of my teen boys was in the shower and had let the water run… a long time, before he even got in. All of the hot water was gone.
There would not be very many bubbles for me, but I refused to let that Calgon go to waste. I put the tea kettle on, a couple of times, made trips up and down the stairs and finally had a warm bubble bath. There was just enough water for me to exfoliate my feet.
Perhaps for National Bubble Bath Day I will indulge in a real bubble bath.
Have a little fun
Will you celebrate National Bubble Bath Day?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Muffins with Mom – A Grammar lesson from a teen

photo credit
It was amazing to see that my teen son received an ‘A’ in his English Literature/Composition class. However, at home, his knowledge was not reflective of what he learned in school. I discovered this in a recent conversation we had.
During Christmas break, when my son was tired of playing his video game he announced, “Ma, I’m going over Cam’s house.”
My face turned into a frown as I said, “That sounded more like a statement than a question. You’re supposed to ask if you can go, not tell me. Didn’t you learn about sentence structure in class?”
“Yes, I know how to form a sentence and that WAS a question, you just didn’t hear the question mark.”
So I guess I didn’t listen intently enough (insert sarcasm). I think my sons next lesson will be in the use of the exclamation mark, when I tell him, “Go clean your room!”
Have you experienced an unexpected lesson from your child lately?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Feel Good Friday - New Year's Blessings

photo credit

"A new year is unfolding - like a blossom with petals curled tightly concealing the beauty within."

                                                                                                                              Author Unknown

Wishing you and your family a blessed New Year. Your best is yet to come, there is a master plan in store for your life. Believe that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens you.